April 2008, VOL. 26, NO. 1
IMCC 2008 Annual Meeting in Teton Village, Wyoming Approaches
The Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) will hold its 2008 Annual Meeting May 18 - 21 at the Teton Mountain Lodge in Teton Village (Jackson Hole), Wyoming. The meeting opens with a Welcome Reception on Sunday, May 18 in the evening, and will conclude by 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20.
The complete itinerary along with hotel reservation and registration information were included in the last issue of the newsletter. The itinerary can be viewed on IMCC’s website. Registration and hotel reservation information forms can also be downloaded from the website. Visit www.imcc.isa.us (click on the “Conference Info.” link), or contact Beth A. Botsis, Director of Programs, phone: 703.709.8654 or E-Mail: email@example.com.
IMCC Announces Winners of 2008 National Reclamation Awards
The Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) recently announced the recipients of its annual national reclamation awards. Named after the charter executive director of the Compact, the Kenes C. Bowling National Mine Reclamation Awards are presented each year to mining operations in the coal and noncoal categories that have demonstrated excellence in reclamation based on achievement in five categories: compliance; contemporaneous reclamation; drainage control; bond release (or reclamation success); and innovativeness.
The 2008 winner in the coal category is ICG Eastern, LLC, Birch River Mine Complex located in Webster County, Cowen, West Virginia. The 2008 winner in the noncoal category is The Arundel Corporation’s, Greenspring Quarry located in Baltimore, Maryland.
This year’s winner in the coal category, ICG Eastern, LLC, Birch River Mine Complex was nominated by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for its innovative and successful reclamation and its clean-up of pre-existing pre-law environmental damage at this remining site. ICG’s Birch River Mine has eliminated documented Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) Inventory Sites, unreclaimed highwalls, and cleaned up pre-existing acid producing materials. The company researched and properly conducted special materials handling that has produced excellent post mining water quality. This included the development of on-bench refuse disposal, thus eliminating the need to construct controversial hollow-fill type refuse impoundments. The constructed refuse cells were built over alkaline underdrains capped by coarse refuse to act as a filter media and prevent migration of refuse fines. Kiln dust was applied to all refuse to amend the final product’s alkalinity. As a result, conditions in Birch River have improved dramatically. The operation maintains concurrent reclamation and has performed exemplary revegetation. Deer, turkey, bear, ducks, and other wildlife are common sights on the reclaimed areas. The Birch River Mine is a leader in the industry in safety, production, and environmental compliance. In addition, Birch River Mine installed a fully enclosed overland belt system in order to eliminate dust emissions and truck traffic in the quiet local community. The company also donated land and electricity to the Webster County Emergency Services 911 communications center for erection of a needed transmission tower on the East Refuse Disposal Area.
The Birch River Mine complex is a large scale surface mine utilizing “area-mine” techniques that produce about 3 million clean tons of coal per year. The complex currently consists of 16 permits encompassing 4,688 bonded acres.
The 2008 winner in the noncoal category, The Arundel Corporation, Greenspring Quarry, is located in Baltimore, Maryland. The Greenspring Quarry was nominated by the Maryland Department of the Environment for its successful reclamation of the site which led to the development of the property for residential and commercial purposes, including a final quarry pit lake. The reclamation resulted in an aesthetic and upscale planned development site which fits well within the local framework.
First operated circa 1877, and finally closed in 1999, the quarry while in operation was capable of producing more than 1 million tons of marble per year at a rate of about 500 tons per hour. When it closed in 1999, the 100-acre permitted site included a 40-acre quarry that was some 500 feet deep. It was estimated that it would take from 5 to 10 years for the quarry to fill with water depending on rainfall and permitted stream diversions. It appears the quarry will be filled to the final lake level at the 10-year mark.
As part of the reclamation, historic streams that had been relocated by the quarry operation decades ago had to be reestablished. The south tributary of Moores Branch was restored to provide scouring and sediment load downstream and now features a meandering stream channel, trees, rocks, and vegetation. A temporary bypass of much of the flow of the main stem of Moores Branch provides base flow, with excess storm water directed to the quarry to help provide storm water management. Prior to this action, storm water management was absent from this deteriorated urban watershed. A cold water discharge was installed in the east end of the quarry to provide cool water for native trout populations downstream. A portion of Moores Branch was also enhanced by off-site reclamation work including removing fish blockages, installing boulders to control the current, regrading severely degraded stream segments, and re-establishing native vegetation. An area of former wash ponds along the stream was reclaimed as a wetland in the flood plain of the stream, providing further water quality improvements.
The centerpiece of the Greenspring Quarry reclamation is the 40-acre lake. Residential and commercial development has been incorporated into this unique setting and marketed as Quarry Lake at Greenspring. Development features include several types of residential housing including luxury single family homes, townhouses, and condominiums with many units overlooking the quarry lake. A mixed-use portion of the site blends office and retail space for use by the immediate community and outside guests and is known as the Shops at Quarry Lake. It includes restaurants, boutiques, banking, drug store tenants, and a state-of-the-art health center. There is also a clubhouse with exercise and recreational areas. A liberal use of attractive stone is found throughout construction on the premises, further evoking the feeling that it is a former quarry site. Black railings, quarry fencing, and accents throughout the development help tie the identity of the site together.
The Arundel Corporation’s parent company, Florida Rock Industries, was recently acquired by Vulcan Materials Company located in Birmingham, Alabama.
The awards will be presented at a banquet being held in conjunction with the IMCC’s Annual Meeting, May 18 - 21, 2008, at the Teton Mountain Lodge in Teton Village (Jackson Hole), Wyoming.
Also receiving recognition for honorable mention in the coal category is Rio Tinto Energy America, Jacobs Ranch Mine, located in Campbell County in Gillette, Wyoming.
For further information about the awards or the IMCC Annual Meeting, contact Beth Botsis, Director of Programs, IMCC at 703/709-8654, fax 703/709-8655, or visit our website: www.imcc.isa.us.
IMCC Announces Winners of 2008 Minerals Education Awards
The Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) recently announced the recipients of its ninth annual minerals education awards. Begun in 1999, the minerals education awards are presented each year in two categories: the mining awareness educator category and the public outreach category. The mining awareness educator award is presented to a teacher or school from one of the 24 member states of the IMCC that has achieved excellence in one or more of the following categories: provided educational outreach in an innovative manner that increases the level of understanding in the classroom and/or community about mining and its impacts; promoted environmental stewardship while enhancing the understanding of issues associated with mining and natural resource development; and/or created unique educational materials or curriculum demonstrating the production and/or use of minerals and associated environmental protection. The criteria can be met through classroom and/or out-of-classroom (i.e. field trips, mine tours, etc.) activities. The winner will receive a framed award certificate and a $500 gift certificate for classroom resource materials.
The public outreach award is presented to an industry, environmental, citizen or other group, or to a state government body, that has achieved excellence in one or more of the following categories: provided educational outreach in an innovative manner that increases the level of understanding in the community about mining and its impacts; promoted awareness of environmental stewardship associated with mining through active involvement of citizens; fostered cooperation and partnerships with diverse groups to achieve understanding; enhanced the understanding of issues associated with mining and natural resource development; and/or fostered public education through mine tours, visitor centers, community awareness days, career days, personnel volunteerism in the schools, maintaining adopt-a-school programs or education partnerships, or any other innovative initiative deemed deserving by the awards committee. The winner will be presented with an engraved plaque of recognition.
The minerals education awards will be presented at a banquet held in conjunction with the IMCC Annual Meeting, May 18 - 22, 2008 in Teton Village (Jackson Hole), Wyoming.
The winner in the educator awareness category for 2008 is Rick Crosslin of the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mr. Crosslin was nominated for his innovative ideas in reaching students in and out of the classroom through the use of broadcast media and podcasting to teach various science topics, including earth science. His televised teaching series featured on PBS-WFYI called “Indiana Expeditions” explores how science impacts our lives every day. The series includes segments specifically on “Coal” and “Mining and Reclamation” which were filmed at an active mining site in Indiana. Mr. Crosslin describes the processes of mining and reclamation during his visit to the site. Another segment includes Mr. Crosslin demonstrating the “Cookie Mining” activity and explaining how it teaches about the economics of mining, as well as mining reclamation. Mr. Crosslin also serves as the School Liaison for Science Learning at the Indiana Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. He received a 2005 Emmy Award for his work on the documentary “Tale of a Bone” created with PBS-WFYI. He has also received numerous other awards related to science education, including the Christa McAuliffe Award by the Indiana Department of Education for which Crosslin is to receive $35,000 to develop model science kits based on his teaching principles for teachers at Chapel Glen Elementary School, where he teaches fourth grade.
The winner in the public outreach category for 2008 is the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP) and its Public Information and Education (PIE) Committee. The IAAP and its PIE Committee were nominated for their commitment to helping members educate the general public about the aggregates industry and its importance in our everyday lives. They sponsor and participate in many educational events around the state, including organizing and sponsoring an annual workshop for teachers for the past 12 years, and they develop and make available numerous educational materials relating to earth science, geology, mine reclamation and the many products made from minerals, crushed stone, sand and gravel. The annual workshop titled “Illinois Teachers Workshop: Rocks Minerals and Mining in Today’s Society” is held in July and is a three day event including lectures, hands-on activities, and mine site visits. Each of the 30 - 35 participating teachers is paired with an aggregate producer from their region. A partnership is encouraged which allows teachers to call upon the aggregate producers to provide mining educational information and assistance and site visit opportunities throughout the school year. Teachers are able to receive Continuing Education credits or graduate credits for attending the workshop. The workshop locations are selected based on member company sponsorship and local geology, assuring that the educational content is different each year. Members of the PIE Committee are all volunteers giving countless hours of hard work to organize the workshop and various other educational and outreach programs. Committee members include representatives from the mining industry, engineering and consulting firms, educational institutions, and government agencies. IAAP and its PIE Committee are also currently developing an educational video on the topic of careers in the aggregates industry.
An Honorable Mention in the Public Outreach Category is also being awarded this year to Tim Theobold of Vulcan Materials Company in Manteno, Illinois.
For further information about the awards or the IMCC Annual Meeting, contact Beth Botsis, Director of Programs, IMCC at 703/709-8654, fax 703/709-8655, or visit our website: www.imcc.isa.us.
Senate Confirms New Federal Mine Safety & Health Review Commission Members
The Senate recently confirmed the appointments of Michael Duffy and Robert Cohen to serve on the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission for terms expiring August 30, 2012. The confirmations increase the commission’s membership to four, thus re-establishing a quorum enabling the commission to conduct business. Mr. Duffy has previously served on the commission and was formerly a deputy general counsel at the National Mining Association.
The confirmations stemmed from an agreement between the White House and Senate Democrats that will see the fifth seat on the commission remain open for appointment by the next president. Later this year the terms of two other commissioners will expire, raising the prospect that the commission will once again lack sufficient members required to conduct business.
NIOSH National Mining Survey Launched
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently launched a survey for the purpose of collecting basic information about mining operations; determining the characteristics of mine employees within each mining sector (job title, years of mining experience, work locations, gender, ethnicity, race, age and education level); and establishing the number and occupational characteristics of independent contractors. The survey topics for mine operators include new and annual miner refresher training; languages used for training and other written materials; and types of work performed by independent contractor employees.
The survey is designed to assist NIOSH in customizing safety and health interventions and is being conducted by NIOSH’s Pittsburgh Research Laboratory. The survey began April 1 and the agency will collect data through June. A total of 2,321 surveys were mailed to a randomized sample of coal, metal, nonmetal, stone, sand and gravel mines.
Indiana DNR Presents Excellence in Mining and Reclamation Award
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently presented its 2007 Excellence in Mining and Reclamation Award to Peabody Energy’s Miller Creek Mine. The award recognizes successful efforts resulting in the reclamation of nearly 1,110 acres of highly productive farmland and wildlife habitat at the mine’s Sugar Ridge Pit located in south central Indiana. The mine is operated by Black Beauty Coal, LLC, a Peabody subsidiary.
The award recognized employees for utilizing innovative techniques to restore prime farmland, as well as for soil replacement and handling techniques that exceed Indiana state requirements. Miller Creek has approximately 140 employees and is active in the community, recently partnering with the Indiana Prime Farmland Team to host a “Field Day” to educate local residents about mining and reclamation.
IMCC Testifies at Senate Hearing on Hardrock AML Issues
The Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) presented testimony at an oversight hearing on “Hardrock Mining: Issues Relating to Abandoned Mine Lands and Uranium Mining” on March 12 before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. IMCC’s witness was Bill Brancard, Director of the Mining and Minerals Division within the New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources. In his testimony, Mr. Brancard provided an overview of the hardrock abandoned mine lands (AML) problem from the states’ perspective, noting that abandoned and inactive mines are scattered throughout the U.S. and are located on private, state and public lands. He stated that data compiled by IMCC and others demonstrate that nationally there are large numbers of significant safety and environmental problems associated with inactive and abandoned hardrock mines and that remediation costs are very large. Mr. Brancard described the efforts that have been undertaken by the states to address hardrock AML program problems within their borders, including partnering with various federal agencies. He also provided several suggestions for the inclusion of a hardrock AML program as part of Mining Law reform, among which were providing the states with primary responsibility for implementing the AML program, expanding the program to include non-federal lands in the West, identifying and prioritizing the sites to be reclaimed, and designing a consistent and cost-effective inventory of AML sites.
States Address OSM Leadership Conference
A panel of state representatives recently addressed the topic “State Perspectives on SMCRA’s Implementation: Success Stories and Challenges” at a leadership conference sponsored by the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) in San Antonio, Texas. Participating on the panel were IMCC Executive Director Greg Conrad, Butch Lambert of Virginia, Bruce Stevens of Indiana and Bill Brancard of New Mexico. The state panelists addressed state program accomplishments over the past 30 years under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA); successful partnering efforts between OSM, the states and other affected parties; state program enhancements; and reclamation success stories. The panelists also forecasted the future challenges under SMCRA, including the interaction between Clean Water Act 404 permits and SMCRA permits, increased public involvement in regulatory decisions; data access and use; termination of jurisdiction; and funding for state programs.
Upcoming IMCC Meetings:
May 18-21, 2008, Teton Village, Wyoming:
IMCC 2008 Annual Meeting (Click the "Conference Info" link for more information and downloadable registration form.)
November 18-19, 2008, St. Louis, Missouri:
IMCC 2008 Mid-Year Meeting
May 26-29, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska:
IMCC 2009 Annual Meeting
For More Information on Upcoming Meetings, Visit the "Conference Info." Link.